Is the African market finally ready to fulfil its full potential? Will a new more open approach to air connectivity finally open the door to better intra-African connectivity? These are massive questions for a market that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts will see the strongest growth over the next 20 years and will be home to some of the fastest growing individual country markets in terms of passenger demand.
This new round-up will deliver some of the key aviation and travel news stories from across Africa.
- Ethiopian Airlines says CSeries was ‘fit for purpose’ but it needs more time following Airbus deal and A220 revamp
- South African Airways launches employee app to promote communication
- Ghana’s CAA hopes to kill ‘two birds with one stone’ with ICAO and FAA assessments
- Kulula.com unveils ‘Q-Jump’ product offering
- Ethiopian, Zambia IDC sign shareholding agreement to relaunch Zambia Airways
- ROUTE UPDATE: latest route launches and announcements
- DATA SNAPSHOT: Africa system seats by alliance (w/c 20-Aug-2018)
Ethiopian Airlines says CSeries was ‘fit for purpose’ but it needs more time following Airbus deal and A220 revamp
Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde GebreMariam has stated the airline decided to step back and “see how the process is going to evolve” with regards to A220 aircraft, following Airbus’ takeover of the programme, despite being heavily rumoured to being close to formalising a deal on the eve of this year’s Farnborough Air Show. The airline has been evaluating the aircraft “for a long time” and deemed it “fit for purpose”, Mr GebreMariam told industry reporters, however the “new owner has a new marketing strategy”. He concluded: “We are closely studying the market if it can continue to grow to the level of the Boeing 737 MAX, which is a 160-seater. With the fast growth that we see in the African continent this market may grow to that level and we may not need to add additional complexity with a new model aircraft and the additional need for training of pilots and technicians”.
South African Airways launches employee app to promote communication
South African Airways (SAA) has launched a mobile app to promote communication between management and employees. SAA said the app enables employees to interact with CEO Vuyani Jarana and management in a more direct and secure manner. “The intention here is to enable communication through as many channels as possible for employees to use what is convenient to them. In addition, we seek to promote and not prevent access to information,” explains SAA spokesperson, Tlali Tlali.
Ghana’s CAA hopes to kill ‘two birds with one stone’ with ICAO and FAA assessments
Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) stated its preparations for an upcoming ICAO audit in late 2018 will also aid in its goal to attain US FAA Category 1 certification. GCAA DG Simon Allotey commented: “More or less, we’re killing two birds with one stone”. Once preparations are complete, the GCAA hopes to invite the FAA to conduct its assessment by 2019. Meanwhile, Ghana’s Minister of Aviation Cecilia Dapaah has reportedly stated the government is seeking private sector partners to launch a national airline, after granting permission to the Ministry of Aviation to commence the “necessary process” in Oct-2017. She noted a new airline has the potential to generate financial and economic benefits in Ghana and throughout West Africa.
Kulula.com unveils ‘Q-Jump’ product offering
South African LCC kulula.com has introduced the ‘Q-Jump’ product, allowing passengers to “jump the boarding queue” for a fee. Other benefits include early access to overhead storage onboard and “very important bag” treatment for checked-in baggage. The airline says Q-Jump allows customers “to fast track the flight boarding process at the Q-Jump boarding queue when they arrive at the boarding gate prior to the flight boarding time,” but the offering remains subject to availability.
Ethiopian, Zambia IDC sign shareholding agreement to relaunch Zambia Airways
Ethiopian Airlines and Zambia’s Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) this week signed a shareholding agreement to relaunch Zambia Airways. IDC will hold 55% equity in the carrier, while Ethiopian Airlines will hold 45%. The companies expect an initial investment of USD30 million, with plans to facilitate the financing necessary to support growth. Zambia Airways is projected to operate a fleet of 12 aircraft and handle more than 1.9 million passengers by 2028, while its domestic and international network will include Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Ethiopian Airlines commented: “As an indigenous and truly Pan-African airline, we believe that African carriers will only get their fair share of the aviation industry and the African market through partnerships with other African carriers”. Zambia Airways is expected to launch operations in 2018.
- Royal Air Maroc plans to launch three times weekly Casablanca-Miami service on 02-Apr-2019. The carrier will operate the service with Boeing 787-8 equipment.
- ASKY Airlines increased Accra-Banjul frequency from three to seven times weekly on 18-Aug-2018, in response to rising demand. Arik Air also operates the route, according to OAG.
- Jambojet plans to increase Nairobi-Kisumu frequency from 20 to 24 times weekly from 03-Sep-2018, to meet increasing demand. The airline will operate the service with 78 seat Bombardier Q400 aircraft.
- Air Algerie plans to launch twice weekly Algiers-Brussels Charleroi service on 28-Oct-2018.
- easyJet plans to launch twice weekly Lyon-Agadir service, effective 31-Oct-2018, a route already flown by Transavia.
- Turkish Airlines reportedly plans to launch four times weekly Luxor service from Oct-2019, rising to eight times weekly by Jan-2020.
- DATA SNAPSHOT: Africa system seats by alliance (w/c 20-Aug-2018)Source: CAPA – Centre for Aviation and OAG